Amazon hires another 75,000 staff to cope with Covid-19 demand

Amazon is racing to hire another 75,000 warehouse workers as it continues to struggle with an enormous surge in delivery orders.

The online shopping giant said it had completed its push for 100,000 more workers in just four weeks and now needed to keep up the hiring blitz to manage the demand.

The pandemic has severely stretched Amazon’s enormous logistics network, driving normally rapid delivery times into days or weeks and diminishing stocks less important items.

Yet the company, which has framed this work as an “essential service… delivering critical supplies”, continues to suffer protests and walk-outs from warehouses workers over safety issues and sick pay.

It said: “We know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis, and we welcome anyone out of work to join us at Amazon until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.

 An amazon delivery person, with a face mask, crosses a street on Park Avenue, remaining nearly empty due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City, United States, on April 12, 2020 – Tayfun Coskun/Getty/Anadolu

“We’ll continue to invest in safety, pay, and benefits for our teams who are playing an invaluable role in getting items to communities around the world.”

The company’s jobs website stresses the urgency of the need with a simple message: “Start as soon as seven days. No resume or previous work required.”

Amazon has lifted salaries and safety measures since the beginning of March, increasing base pay in the UK by £2 per hour, doubling overtime awards, providing protective equipment and offering paid sick leave for workers who contract Covid-19.

It estimated that it had spent $350m (£279m) so far on extra pay and would now spend another $150m.

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Sanchit Jain, a researcher at Enders Analysis specialising in Amazon and e-commerce, said: “For Amazon to continue fast deliveries at this time will be a huge boost for the brand’s reputation.

“However, equally, if it over-promises to consumers and starts delivering products late or worse, cancelling altogether, Amazon’s reputation will quickly fall in the consumer’s eyes.”

He said the company would be hard-pressed maintaining safety standards at this rate of expansion and that it needed to implement in-house testing across the board as soon as possible. 

“The big question for Amazon to answer is whether these employees are going to simply be let go once the pandemic is over,” he added. “[It] could be seen as simply scaling up earlier than planned.”

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